Tag Archives: Donald Trump

New Impeachment NOT About Riots, About Stopping Trump Run in 2024


New Impeachment NOT About Riots, About Stopping Trump Run in 2024 – powered by ise.media

The effort being put forward by House Democrats to Impeach President Trump for the second time in two years is about blocking Trump from running again in 2024.

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President Trump: “Total Declassification” of Any/All Documents Related To Russia Investigation

Handwritten notes from former CIA Director John Brennan prove that the Trump/Russia connection appears to have been approved first by the Hillary Clinton campaign and dreamed up by an advisor Jake Sullivan, who is now a major Biden advisor.

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Truth In Media with Ben Swann, Episode 32- Trump Administration: Syria’s Assad “Does Not” Have To Go

The Trump Administration’s stance on Syria and Bashar al-Assad goes against President Obama’s and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s policy since 2011. In this episode, Ben takes a look at how this new policy is contrary to the media narrative about Syria over the past decade.

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Trump, on NFL Ruling, Suggests Kneeling Players “Shouldn’t Be In The Country”

NFL owners issued a new policy earlier this week, requiring players and team personnel to stand during the National Anthem. This ruling is in response to controversy last season in which some players chose to kneel instead of stand to protest cases of systemic oppression.

According to ESPN, the new policy mandates players ad personnel to stand during the anthem “if they are on the field during the performance,” but allows them “the option to remain in the locker room if they prefer.”

The policy subjects teams to a fine if a player or any other team personnel do not show respect for the anthem. That includes any attempt to sit or kneel, as dozens of players have done during the past two seasons to protest racial inequality and police brutality. Those teams also will have the option to fine any team personnel, including players, for the infraction.

President Trump responded with support for the NFL’s decision to ban kneeling, saying on Fox & Friends that “I don’t think people should be staying in the locker rooms, but still I think it’s good. You have to stand proudly for the national anthem or you shouldn’t be playing, you shouldn’t be there. Maybe you shouldn’t be in the country.”

Trump also said he doesn’t feel responsible for the new NFL policy, noting that he thought it was the American people who pressed the league to make the new rule.

This isn’t the first time Trump has criticized NFL players kneeling during the anthem. In September 2017, Trump asked at a rally in Alabama, “wouldn’t you love to see one of the NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say ‘Get that son of a b—– off the field right now’?”

According to a statement released by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, the league acknowledged that kneeling players have been effective in alerting the public to social issues, noting that “the efforts by many of our players sparked awareness and action around issues of social justice that must be addressed.”

Goodell also stated that “we want people to be respectful of the national anthem…we want people to stand— that’s all personnel— and make sure they treat this moment in a respectful fashion. That’s something we think we owe. But we were also very sensitive to give players choices.”

The vote was unanimous among owners.

Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Chris Long rebuked the new rule, claiming that it was based in fear:

https://twitter.com/JOEL9ONE/status/999408653445795840

New York Jets chairman and CEO Christopher Johnson has reportedly balked at the new policy; according to a report from Newsday, Johnson told the publication that “his players are free to take a knee or perform some other protest without fear of repercussion from the team.”

“If somebody [on the Jets] takes a knee, that fine will be borne by the organization, by me, not the players,” Johnson said. “I never want to put restrictions on the speech of our players. Do I prefer that they stand? Of course. But I understand if they felt the need to protest. There are some big, complicated issues that we’re all struggling with, and our players are on the front lines. I don’t want to come down on them like a ton of bricks, and I won’t. There will be no club fines or suspensions or any sort of repercussions. If the team gets fined, that’s just something I’ll have to bear.”

Judge Napolitano: Can the President Lawfully Investigate His Investigators?

This past weekend, President Donald Trump suggested that his presidential campaign may have been the victim of spies or moles who were FBI informants or undercover agents. He demanded an investigation to get to the bottom of the matter.

At the same time that the president was fuming over this, Republican congressional leaders were fuming about the reluctance of senior officials at the Department of Justice and the FBI to turn over documents that might reveal political origins of the current criminal investigation of the president by special counsel Robert Mueller.

Can the president intercede in a federal criminal investigation of which he himself is a subject? Can Congress intercede in a DOJ criminal investigation?

Here is the back story.

Mueller was named special counsel so he could investigate serious and demonstrable evidence of Russian government interference in the 2016 presidential election. Because the Trump campaign met with Russian intelligence officials offering campaign assistance, implicit in that investigation is an inquiry into whether the Trump campaign invited foreign interference and agreed to accept or facilitate it.

Mueller is seeking to determine whether there was an agreement between the Trump campaign and any foreign person, entity or government to receive anything of value for the campaign. Such an agreement plus a material step in furtherance of it taken by any of those who joined the agreement would itself constitute the crime of conspiracy, even if the agreed-upon thing of value never arrived.

In the course of examining evidence for the existence of this alleged conspiracy — which Trump has forcefully denied many times — Mueller’s prosecutors and FBI agents have come upon evidence of other crimes. They have obtained 19 indictments — some for financial crimes, some for lying to FBI agents and some for foreign interference in the election — and four guilty pleas for lying, in which those who pleaded guilty agreed to assist the government.

Nine of the indictments are against Russian intelligence agents, whom the president himself promptly sanctioned by barring their travel here and their use of American banks and commercial enterprises, even though he has called Mueller’s investigation a witch hunt.

Mueller has also come upon evidence of obstruction of justice by the president while in office and financial crimes prior to entering office, all of which Trump has denied. Obstruction of justice consists of interfering with a judicial proceeding — such as a grand jury’s hearing evidence — for a corrupt purpose.

Thus, if Trump fired FBI Director James Comey because he didn’t trust him or because he wanted his own person in that job, that was his presidential prerogative, but Trump’s purpose was corrupt if he fired Comey because Comey would not deny that the president was the subject of a criminal investigation — a basis for firing surprisingly offered publicly by one of the president’s own lawyers.

The potential financial crimes appear to be in the areas of bank fraud — making material misrepresentations to banks to obtain loans — and money laundering, or the passage of ill-gotten gains through numerous bank accounts so as to make the gains appear lawful. These, too, Trump has denied.

It seems that the deeper Mueller and his team dig the more they find. As lawyers and as federal prosecutors, Mueller’s team members have ethical obligations to uncover whatever evidence of crime they come upon and, when professionally feasible and legally appropriate, either prosecute or pass the evidence on to other federal prosecutors, as they did in the case of evidence of fraud against Michael Cohen, a former confidant and lawyer for Trump before he was president.

Now, back to Trump’s eruption about FBI spies or moles.

The president cannot interfere with criminal investigations against himself without running the risk of additional charges of obstruction of justice — interference with a judicial process (the gathering of evidence and its presentation to a grand jury) for a corrupt purpose (impeding his own prosecution or impeachment). Nor can members of Congress see whatever they want in the midst of a criminal investigation, particularly if they might share whatever they see with the person being investigated.

Prosecutors have a privilege to keep their files secret until they reach the time that the law provides for them to go public. Because Mueller is faced with the legal equivalent of assembling a 10,000-piece jigsaw puzzle, he is not yet ready to show his cards. If his cards contain materials from confidential sources — people whose identities he promised not to reveal — or if his cards contain evidence he presented to a grand jury, he may not lawfully reveal what he has until it is time to exonerate the president, indict him or present a report to Mueller’s DOJ superiors that is intended for the House of Representatives.

Can the president investigate his investigators?

Yes — but not until the investigation of him is completed. That’s because no one can fruitfully examine the legitimacy of the origins of the case against Trump without knowing the evidence and the charges. Trump’s allegations are of extreme scandal — the use of FBI assets by the Obama administration to impede his presidential campaign. Yet if he is exonerated, those allegations will lose their sting. If he is charged with crimes or impeachable offenses that do not have their origins in politically charged spying, then his allegations will be moot.

But if he were to force the DOJ to turn over raw investigative files now to politicians who want to help him, he might very well be impeding the criminal case against him. That would be profoundly threatening to the rule of law, for it provides that no man can be the prosecutor or the judge in his own case. Even Trump’s lawyers acknowledge that he could not lawfully do that.

Reality Check: The FBI Planted a Spy In the Trump Campaign?

The FBI planted a spy in the Trump campaign?

Turns out that claim is true. But the story is so much deeper than that.

Who that spy has turned out to be, is a man with CIA connections who has inserted himself into presidential campaigns before. And the fact that the DOJ has fought to keep his identity a secret is completely reshaping what we know about the investigation in Russian meddling.

This is a Reality Check you won’t get anywhere else.

The investigation into a possible connection between Russia and the Trump campaign just took a dramatic twist, with reports confirming the use of an FBI informant embedded within the Trump campaign in the run up to the 2016 election.

In a tweet Friday, President Trump wrote, “Reports are there was indeed at least one FBI representative implanted, for political purposes, into my campaign for president. It took place very early on, and long before the phony Russia hoax became a ‘hot’ Fake News story. If true – all time biggest political scandal!”

The Department of Justice and several spokespersons for the FBI did not deny that a spy had been embedded in the Trump campaign but they described the individual as an informant. Turns out he is much more than that.

Who was that informant exactly, and what makes the fact that he personally was embed in the trump campaign even more concerning?

His name is Stefan Halper. And according to The Intercept, “Halper was responsible for a long-forgotten spying scandal involving the 1980 election, in which the Reagan campaign – using CIA officials managed by Halper, reportedly under the direction of former CIA director and then-vice-presidential candidate George H.W. Bush – got caught running a spying operation from inside the Carter administration. The plot involved CIA operatives passing classified information about Carter’s foreign policy to Reagan campaign officials in order to ensure the Reagan campaign knew of any foreign policy decisions that Carter was considering.”

So while the DOJ has intentionally painted a picture of this informant as some sort of as a super secret high level, covert intelligence asset, he actually is not. He is an informant who has worked in Washington for years providing information to the CIA.

At this point we know that Halper met with three Trump campaign advisers in 2016.

George Papadopoulos, who Halper contacted, offering him $3,000 to write a policy paper on issues related to Turkey, Cyprus, Israel and the Leviathan natural gas field. Halper also offered to pay for Papadopoulos’s flight and a three-night stay in London.

Papadopoulos completed the project and was paid for it. But it was what happened while Papadopoulos was in London that is of interest.

From The Daily Caller, “According to a source with knowledge of the meeting, Halper asked Papadopoulos: ‘George, you know about hacking the emails from Russia, right?’Papadopoulos told halper he didn’t know anything about emails or Russian hacking…”

Halper also met with Trump aide, Carter Page, “at a July 2016 symposium held at Cambridge regarding the upcoming election, Page told The DCNF [Daily Caller News Foundation]. The pair remained in contact for several months.”

So a least three Trump aides were contacted by Halper… two of those aides have been under FBI investigation and one of those aides has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI.

If we look at Halper in the course of presidential politics and history, then we know that Halper was part of one of the largest attempts ever for the CIA to push their former director to become president. When George H.W. Bush ran for president, Halper was a foreign policy aide.

As The Intercept points out, “In 1980, the Washington Post published an article reporting on the extremely unusual and quite aggressive involvement of the CIA in the 1980 presidential campaign.”

The CIA had never before backed a presidential and then vice presidential candidate so openly as it did with George H.W. Bush. That is, not until 2016, when former CIA officials publicly and aggressively backed Hillary Clinton

Former acting CIA Director Michael Morell publicly endorsed Clinton in the New York Times. George W. Bush’s CIA and NSA Director Gen. Michael Hayden called Trump a “clear and present danger.”

Reality Check here: The secret informant the FBI used in 2016, is not some top secret asset whose identity needed to be protected. Instead, it is a well known CIA informant whose role in a clearly unethical and possible illegal spying effort during the 1980 election is very well known.

That’s Reality Check. Let’s talk about that, right now, on Facebook and Twitter.

Trump’s Fed Nominee Advocated Abolishing Cash

Trump Federal Reserve Board of Governors nominee Marvin Goodfriend reportedly advocated on two different occasions the elimination of cash from circulation in an effort to prevent individuals from hoarding cash in the event that the Federal Reserve were to push a negative interest rate policy during a financial crisis.

The Mises Institute notes that Goodfriend first floated the idea in a 1999 paper called “The Case for Unencumbering Interest Rate Policy at the Zero Bound” and again promoted the concept at a 2016 Federal Reserve conference in Jackson Hole, Wyo.

Goodfriend reportedly said that the Fed needs the option to push interest rates negative, which would cause consumers to pay fees in order to keep their money in savings accounts, and that cash should be eliminated to prevent banking consumers from pulling their money out of banks to avoid paying those fees.

Bloomberg notes that Goodfriend suggested a few theories for how to phase out cash. He floated eliminating large bills to make cash less convenient. He suggested that the Fed charge banks and/or consumers fees for issuing paper currency. He advocated that the issuance of cash be taxed such that consumers only receive 90 cents when withdrawing a dollar. He also called for abolishing cash outright. The Wall Street Journal notes that Goodfriend additionally suggested that cash bills should contain a magnetic strip so they can be scanned and tracked as they move through circulation.

The Federalist’s Connor Boyack wrote, “From Sweden to India and Venezuela to Australia, governments around the world have already taken steps to eliminate cash from their economy. This is particularly attractive in countries like China, with a government that wants to be able to track its citizens at all times.”

Cash purchases are notoriously difficult for regulators to monitor.

In a January Senate confirmation hearing, Goodfriend downplayed his seriousness in advocating the policy.

“I wrote a paper in 1999 for a Federal Reserve System conference which asked what would happen if interest rates went to zero, and what could the Federal Reserve do. I didn’t propose that, that was an academic paper showing what could be done….It was not a proposal. It was an emergency matter we considered as a matter of thinking about these things before anyone ever imagined anything could happen like that,” he said, omitting any mention of his 2016 speech on the subject.

While Goodfriend’s nomination enjoys the support of most Senate Republicans, it has stalled so far in the face of opposition from Senate Democrats and Republican U.S. Senator from Kentucky Rand Paul.

Harvard economist Kenneth Rogoff, who supports Goodfriend, said, “Thank goodness there will be someone at the Fed with the foresight to realize that world needs to start thinking about how central banks can best deal with the inevitable next deep financial crisis. And negative interest rate policy is the best idea out there by a wide margin; hopefully we won’t need it anytime soon. Still, I believe that within a decade, all the world’s major central banks and treasuries are likely to have taken the simple steps necessary to create the foundations for effective negative interest rate policy in deep recessions or financial crises.”

The Mises Institute’s Tho Bishop, who questioned whether Goodfriend is the “worst Federal Reserve nominee of all time,” wrote, “Instead of correcting course from the interventionism of the Greenspan-Bernanke-Yellen, Goodfriend is doubling down on the same fundamental misunderstanding on the role of interest rates in an economy. Rather than a macroeconomic policy tool that can be used by central planners to speed up and slow down an economy, interest rates are instead important market prices coordinating the supply and demand of money on the market.”

Reality Check: EU Replacing U.S. as Global Leader After Trump Leaves Iran Deal?

The president of the European Commission says the the EU needs to replace the U.S. as a global superpower because President Trump has announced that the U.S. will pull out of the Iran nuclear deal.

Jean-Claude Juncker had strong words. But is he right?

Let’s give it a Reality Check you won’t get anywhere else.

“At this point, we have to replace the United States, which as an international actor has lost vigor, and because of it, in the long term, influence…”

Those are the words of EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker during an address to Belgium’s Flemish Regional Parliament in Brussels. He says that the European Union should take over as global leader because the U.S. “no longer wants to cooperate” with the world, as it’s abandoning the Iran nuclear deal.

Is the EU posturing after President Donald Trump said the new U.S. sanctions against Iran would impact anyone who deals with Iran, including companies in the EU?

One sign indicating EU is posturing is talk of sanctioning the U.S.

According to Reuters, EU officials are revamping a blocking statue used by the governing body in the 1990s to threaten then President Bill Clinton’s administration when the U.S. tried to penalize foreign businesses trying to work with Cuba.

It worked, coupled with a political strategy, and Washington backed down.

Basically the statue blocks EU companies from following U.S. sanctions, and doesn’t recognize court rulings enforcing U.S. penalties for non-compliance. But it’s never actually been used, and is seen by EU governments as more of a warning to the U.S. than anything.

Now, the idea that Europe should or would replace the U.S. as global leader is somewhat silly at this point.

Through NATO, the United States uses its massive military to protect and pay for protection for 27 European nations, with the U.S. spending more than double and in some cases triple for defense.

But the underlying concern behind Juncker’s statements are the very real questions about the reasons for President Trump’s decision to leave the Iran nuclear deal, especially when the IAEA says Iran is in fact following the agreement.

The IAEA Director General released a statement last week stating, “As requested by the United Nations Security Council and authorised by the IAEA Board of Governors in 2015, the IAEA is verifying and monitoring Iran’s implementation of its nuclear-related commitments under the JCPOA.

“Iran is subject to the world’s most robust nuclear verification regime under the JCPOA, which is a significant verification gain. As of today, the IAEA can confirm that the nuclear-related commitments are being implemented by Iran.”

So what you need to know is that there are actually multiple story lines here.

The EU leadership posturing, stating the U.S. should no longer be the world leader—that isn’t really worth debating.

The IAEA saying that Iran is following the deal—that is something we need to pay attention to.

And finally, the biggest, most under reported story line so far—the fact that Israel is pushing this decision at the same moment that nation launching military strikes against Iranian positions in Syria.

Again, that is the question here. Is the U.S. going to be dragged into another Middle East war, this time alongside Israel against Iran and Syria?

That’s Reality Check. Let’s talk about it, right now, on Facebook and Twitter.

John McCain Defends Giving Trump Dossier to Comey

Washington, D.C. – Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) reportedly confirmed in his forthcoming book, “The Restless Wave,” (set to be released in May 22), that he personally handed then-FBI Director James Comey a copy of the now infamous dossier of opposition research on then-presidential candidate Donald Trump compiled by former British intelligence agent Christopher Steele, but defends his actions as those of a patriotic American.

“I agreed to receive a copy of what is now referred to as ‘the dossier,'” McCain wrote in his upcoming book. “I reviewed its contents. The allegations were disturbing, but I had no idea which if any were true. I could not independently verify any of it, and so I did what any American who cares about our nation’s security should have done.”

[Related: Nunes Memo Released]

According to a report by the Daily Beast, which obtained an advance copy of the book, McCain wrote that he spoke to Sir Andrew Wood, a former British diplomat, in November 2016 at the Halifax International Security Forum. Wood reportedly made McCain aware of Steele’s dossier, which subsequently resulted in David Kramer, senior director for Human Rights and Human Freedoms at the McCain Institute, traveling to London to meet with Steele. This was not Steele’s first contact with US officials, as prior to this meeting he had already met with US officials in Rome to discuss his research, according to The Washington Post.

McCain reportedly recalled that once he had procured a copy of the dossier, he put it into a safe in his office and called Comey’s office to request a meeting with the FBI director.

“I went to see him at his earliest convenience, handed him the dossier, explained how it had come into my possession,” said McCain. “I said I didn’t know what to make of it, and I trusted the FBI would examine it carefully and investigate its claims. With that, I thanked the director and left. The entire meeting had probably not lasted longer than ten minutes. I did what duty demanded I do.”

Former FBI Director Comey, during a promotional tour for his own new book, admitted that upon briefing President Trump on the existence of the dossier, he failed to mention that the document was a product of opposition research funded in part by his political enemies.

In an episode of Reality Check in February, Ben Swann examined the claim that the dossier had played a significant role in the acquisition of a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant application to authorize the surveillance of Carter Page, President Trump’s former campaign foreign policy adviser.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CX88suyFcVs

Reality Check: Why Did Trump Abandon the Iran Nuclear Deal?

President Trump announced Tuesday that the U.S. will pull out of the Iran nuclear deal. It is a campaign promise that he made repeatedly during the election.

Trump has said the Iran deal is the worst of all time, and instead of staying in it he’s going to impose new sanctions against Iran.

So why did Trump abandon the Iran deal? Was it truly a bad deal, or was there influence coming from Israel? And what could that influence mean for our future?

This is a Reality Check you won’t get anywhere else.

“The Iran deal is defective at its core. If we do nothing, we know exactly what will happen. In just a short period of time, the world’s leading state sponsor of terror, will be on the cusp of acquiring the world’s most dangerous weapons.”

That was President Trump on Tuesday announcing that just three years into the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, known as the Iran nuclear deal, the U.S. will abandon the agreement that got Iran, some say, to rein in its nuclear program.

But others say it was a terrible deal that sped up their nuclear ambitions.

So why did President Trump abandon the Iran deal? To understand that, we actually need to look back at our relationship with Iran. Here’s a quick history lesson to bring you up to speed.

In 1953, the CIA led Operation Ajax, a coup in Iran to overthrow the democratically elected Prime Minister Mosaddegh and to strengthen the monarchy led by the Shah.

After that, our government actually provided Iran a nuclear reactor fueled by highly-enriched uranium, under the Atoms for Peace program.

But then the shah was overthrown in 1979, and the U.S. stopped supplying Iran with highly enriched uranium.

Since then, our government has worked to prevent any nuclear development deal in the nation of Iran. It’s been going on for some time.

That is, until 2015, when the Obama Administration made a deal to allow Iran to keep a maximum of 660 pounds of low-enriched uranium through 2031 and drastically reduce the number of installed nuclear centerfuges.

As part of the deal, Iran has been under 24-hour surveillance by the International Atomic Energy Agency. In 2015, the IAEA found no credible evidence of nuclear bomb development. And the country has been under a very tight watch ever since.

But now, the U.S. pulling out of the deal, just as President Trump promised he would.

Yet a key reason that the president gave for quitting the Iran deal is alleged evidence from Israel that Iran was not in compliance.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu revealed on April 30 that Israeli spies had stolen Iranian nuclear plans. Yet, according to the New York Times, Netanyahu did not provide any evidence that Iran violated the agreement.

What you need to know is that Israel’s influence in President Trump’s decision is interesting. Those on the left say the Iran deal would have prevented a nuclear Iran. Those on the right say the Iran deal would have sped that process up. But that isn’t the question we should be asking. No, the real question is one I asked here exactly one month ago.

Is the U.S. being pulled into an all-out war with Iran and Syria?

Remember, in March the U.S. participated in a joint military exercise in Israel to play out a scenario of an Iranian attack. In April, Israel bombed Syria and injured Iranians, just days before the U.S. led targeted attacks on Syria. You see a theme here?

And now, just hours after the U.S. abandoned the Iran deal, Israeli air strikes targeted an Iranian position in Syria, with nine reported Iranian deaths. And in Israel, military forces are preparing for a possible Iranian attack.

The real question we should be asking: Are we, the American people, ready to join Israel’s escalating war against Iran, a war that looks more likely every day?

That’s Reality Check. Let’s talk about that, right now, on Facebook and Twitter.

Judge Rules Trump Administration Cannot Transfer American Citizen Detained Without Charge

On Monday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit blocked the Trump administration from transferring an unidentified United States citizen, accused of fighting for the Islamic State in Syria, to another country. The detainee, identified only as John Doe, is a dual citizen of the U.S. and Saudi Arabia who has been held without charge since September 2017 when he was captured by Kurdish fighters in Iraq. He was later transferred to the U.S. military in Iraq where he is currently being held.

As reported by the American Civil Liberties Union last November:

For nearly two months, the U.S. military has been detaining an American citizen at a secret jail in Iraq, denying him access to a lawyer and even refusing to release his name. The Trump administration is calling the citizen an “enemy combatant,” claiming he was fighting for ISIS in Syria, but it has not presented any evidence to back up its allegations.

We went to court asking a judge to protect the citizen’s constitutional rights, including the right not to be imprisoned without charge and the right to challenge his detention in court. The Trump administration has told the court that it doesn’t have to respect these essential due process rights.

Despite lacking the evidence to bring charges against the man, the U.S. has labeled John Doe an enemy combatant. The federal government believes this grants the authority to transfer him out of the country without judicial review. The Justice Department has previously argued that the courts have no authority to rule on wartime detentions by U.S. military in an overseas conflict zone. At a November 2017 hearing, the government revealed that the man asserted his constitutional right to a lawyer. The American Civil Liberties Union is currently representing John Doe in court.

According to a report from Courthouse News:

Doe has denied being an enemy combatant in court filings, and the ACLU called it unconstitutional to transfer Doe without a positive legal authority, such as a statute or treaty… The government argued meanwhile that judicial intervention would harm diplomatic relations and “ongoing bilateral cooperation” if the transfer fell through.

The ACLU argued that the law compelled the court to rule on Doe’s habeas corpus petition before the military is able to transfer him. Habeas corpus is a recourse in law which allows an individual to report an unlawful detention or imprisonment to a court and request that the court order a determination of whether the detention is lawful. The U.S. Constitution specifically includes the habeas procedure in the Suspension Clause (Clause 2), located in Article One, Section 9. This states that “The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in cases of rebellion or invasion the public safety may require it.”

Ultimately, the court ruled 2 to 1 against transferring John Doe to another nation. Jonathan Hafetz of the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation said the ruling vindicates due process and the protection of constitutional rights. “The president does not get a blank check to dispose of the liberty of U.S. citizens just because international relations or military actions are involved,” Hafetz said in a statement.

Robert Chesney, Law Professor and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at the University of Texas School of Law, wrote that he believes it is likely the decision “will go all the way up to the Supreme Court.” Professor Chesney described the legal considerations of the case:

The central question before it is whether John Doe’s unusual circumstances fall within the scope of the Supreme Court’s 1936 Valentine decision or, instead, its 2008 Munaf decision. That is a harder question than the district court’s two brief opinions on the matter suggest.

If Valentine controls, the government indeed loses. Valentine, when applicable, requires an affirmative grant of authority from a statute or treaty before an American citizen may be sent involuntarily into the hands of a foreign government. And there is no such statute or treaty relevant to the proposed transfer of Doe to Saudi Arabia, as the district court correctly observed last week.

The U.S. government believes it can hold a suspect for a “reasonable period” before deciding whether or not to charge or release the individual. The government also claims that the ACLU cannot represent the man because they have had no contact with him and he has not made a request.

The U.S. government has been holding John Doe for 6 months without charging him for a criminal act, and has sought not only to prevent him from accessing legal representation, but also move him away to a foreign nation where the public would have more difficulty in maintaining awareness of the situation. For the moment, the courts have chosen to side with justice by forcing the U.S. government to prove its case, although the battle over the fate of John Doe continues.

Rand Paul Warns AUMF Gives the President Unlimited War Powers

Washington, D.C. – Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) publicly rebuked the recently-proposed Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), warning about the bill’s potential dangers and how its passage could further codify war-making powers in the hands of the executive branch. In an op-ed published Monday, Paul explained how passage of the AUMF, Congress is abdicating authority to prevent unlimited war, and is instead going to codify the “unacceptable, unconstitutional status quo.”

“It is clear upon reading the AUMF, put forward by Senators Tim Kaine and Bob Corker, that it gives nearly unlimited power to this or any other president to be at war whenever he or she wants, with minimal justification and no prior specific authority,” Paul wrote in an op-ed in the American Conservative.

“Under this bill, Congress could only disapprove of war, turning the Constitution on its head,” Paul claimed. “Even worse, any resolution of disapproval could be vetoed, meaning two thirds of Congress would need to disapprove of a war, rather than a majority to approve of one. That’s a huge, unwise, and unconstitutional change.”

[Related: Civil Liberties Advocates: Proposed AUMF Gives President “Blank Check” War Powers]

Sen. Paul declared that passage of a proposed new AUMF would serve to further remove Congress from the equation in terms of declaring war, and that this combats the checks and balances put in place by the Founding Fathers to prevent consolidation of power within the executive branch.

“That isn’t an AUMF. That isn’t Congress reclaiming its constitutional duties. That’s a complete rewriting of the role of the executive and of the constitutional separation of powers.”

The Kentucky senator noted that the Founding Fathers knew of the tendency of the executive branch to launch wars, so they built in checks to prevent it. Currently, the War Powers Act is supposed to limit the use of force by the executive, with the exception of a national emergency or an imminent attack, but rarely does so in the modern era. As Paul wrote, “For some time now, Congress has abdicated its responsibility to declare war. The status quo is that we are at war anywhere and anytime the president says so.”

Paul warned that “If this AUMF is passed, Congress will have chosen to make itself irrelevant on the issue of war.”

Read the full op-ed by Sen. Rand Paul here.

NY AG Schneiderman Resigns After Accusations of Violence Against Women

New York, NY – Following a New Yorker report on Monday that four women had accused New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman of sexual degradation and physical violence, and subsequent calls by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand to resign, Schneiderman announced his resignation.

Schneiderman told the New Yorker in a statement: “In the privacy of intimate relationships, I have engaged in role-playing and other consensual sexual activity. I have not assaulted anyone. I have never engaged in nonconsensual sex, which is a line I would not cross.”

But his accusers, two of whom went public, allege that Schneiderman engaged physical violence and abuse that went beyond “role-playing.”

Tanya Selvaratnam, a woman romantically involved with Schneiderman between the summer of 2016 and fall of 2017, told The New Yorker that Schneiderman called her his “brown slave” and would slap her until she referred to him as “Master.” Selvaratnam said that that over the course of their yearlong affair, Schneiderman “was a fairytale that became a nightmare.”

Selvaratnam said that Schneiderman, who was a strong public advocate for the #MeToo movement against sexual violence and harassment, got progressively more violent.

“The slaps started after we’d gotten to know each other. It was at first as if he were testing me. Then it got stronger and harder. It wasn’t consensual. This wasn’t sexual playacting. This was abusive, demeaning, threatening behavior.”

She said that as the violence grew, so did his sexual demands. “He was obsessed with having a threesome and said it was my job to find a woman,” Selvaratnam said. “He said he’d have nothing to look forward to if I didn’t and would hit me until I agreed.”

Schneiderman has been a high-profile advocate for women’s issues over the years as well as a well-known adversary of President Trump.

As noted by The New Yorker:

As New York State’s highest-ranking law-enforcement officer, Schneiderman, who is sixty-three, has used his authority to take legal action against the disgraced film mogul Harvey Weinstein, and to demand greater compensation for the victims of Weinstein’s alleged sexual crimes. Last month, when the Times and this magazine were awarded a joint Pulitzer Prize for coverage of sexual harassment, Schneiderman issued a congratulatory tweet, praising “the brave women and men who spoke up about the sexual harassment they had endured at the hands of powerful men.” Without these women, he noted, “there would not be the critical national reckoning under way.”

“This is a man who has staked his entire career, his personal narrative, on being a champion for women publicly,” Selvaratnam said. “But he abuses them privately. He needs to be called out.”

Only hours after the allegations surfaced, Schneiderman announced his resignation:

“It’s been my great honor and privilege to serve as attorney general for the people of the State of New York,” Schneiderman said in his resignation statement. “In the last several hours, serious allegations, which I strongly contest, have been made against me.”

“While these allegations are unrelated to my professional conduct or the operations of the office, they will effectively prevent me from leading the office’s work at this critical time. I therefore resign my office, effective at the close of business on May 8, 2018.”

Fox News reported that late Monday, the Manhattan District Attorney’s office said it was opening a probe into former New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

“After I found out that other women had been abused by Attorney General Schneiderman in a similar manner many years before me, I wondered, who’s next, and knew something needed to be done,” Selvaratnam said in a statement to the AP. “So I chose to come forward both to protect women who might enter into a relationship with him in the future but also to raise awareness around the issue of intimate partner violence.”

Report: Feds Tracked Phone Calls of Trump Lawyer Michael Cohen

Washington, D.C. – Federal investigators have been reportedly monitoring the phone logs of Michael Cohen, President Trump’s personal attorney, according to NBC News.

NBC News on Thursday initially claimed that the FBI investigation of Cohen included wiretapping of his phones lines, but following statements from US officials disputing the claim, NBC issued a correction clarifying that Cohen’s calls had actually been logged through the use of what is known as a “pen register.”

The monitoring has reportedly been ongoing for an unknown amount of time, but included the weeks preceding the raid on Cohen’s hotel room, office and home.

The NBC News report went on to state that at least one call between Cohen and someone at the White House, possibly Trump or an intermediary, was logged by prosecutors:

The calls are logged by what is commonly referred to as a pen register, which records the number of the phone that made the call and the number that received it, but does not record the contents of any conversation.

NBC News originally reported that Cohen’s phone lines had been wiretapped, meaning a judge had given investigators approval to listen to phone calls. Three senior U.S. officials now dispute that, saying the monitoring of the calls was limited to a log of calls.

At least one phone call between a phone line associated with Cohen and the White House was logged, the person said.

Previously, federal prosecutors in New York have said in court filings that they have conducted covert searches on multiple e-mail accounts maintained by Cohen.

Following the raid on Cohen, Trump’s legal team reportedly advised him to not speak with Cohen – advice Trump is not believed to have followed. After new lead attorney Rudy Giuliani came aboard the president’s legal team and became aware of Trump’s call to Cohen he instructed him to not call Cohen out of caution that prosecutors were surveilling the communications.

In addition, sources close to Giuliani, said the former mayor of New York City and ex-federal prosecutor, reportedly told Trump that he believes that Cohen is likely to flip and become a prosecutorial witness. Trump has repeatedly stated on numerous occasions that he believes Cohen — who has represented Trump and the Trump Organization for decades prior to Trump becoming president — will not cave to pressure to cut a deal to turn on him.

NBC News reported:

It is unclear what incriminating information Cohen could give prosecutors on Trump, if he chose to cooperate. He represented Trump and the Trump Organization in its business dealings for nearly two decades before Trump became president. Special counsel Robert Mueller is interested in any information that federal investigators in New York may pick up that would be relevant to his investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Cohen has previously said publicly that he would invoke his Fifth Amendment rights if subpoenaed to avoid incriminating himself before a grand jury and there is no indication from public filings that Cohen is cooperating in the probe.

 

Disputed Report Claims Mattis Told Trump to Ask Congress Before Syria Strikes

Trump administration officials are reportedly saying that U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim “Mad Dog” Mattis attempted to convince President Donald Trump to seek congressional approval before carrying out strikes on Syrian president Bashar al-Assad’s regime following a chemical weapons attack that some administration officials allege were carried out by Assad’s forces.

According to unnamed “military and administration” sources cited by The New York Times, President Trump allegedly rejected Mattis’ advice regarding congressional approval, preferring instead to carry out a rapid show of force to punctuate his tough talk against the Assad regime. However, New York Times sources claim that Sec. Mattis, who warned that an escalation with Syrian-allied Russia could spark a wider war, successfully convinced Trump to limit the strikes to three, two-minute low-profile 105 missile midnight strikes on suspected chemical weapons production facilities, in an effort to save face while avoiding casualties to Russian troops embedded with Syrian forces.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YkQODKjDVws

The Hill notes that White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Sec. Mattis denied the report.

“Reports that Secretary Mattis urged the president to seek congressional approval before last week’s strikes in Syria are categorically false. As Secretary Mattis explained to Congress in yesterday’s all-member briefs, the president appropriately ordered the strikes under his constitutional authorities,” Press Secretary Sanders claimed in a statement.

“I have no idea where that story came from. I found nothing in it that I could recall from my own last week’s activities,” Sec. Mattis said as he addressed reporters following a meeting with Qatar’s defense minister.

The New York Times report also claimed that newly-hired national security adviser John Bolton has weakened Mattis’ influence over President Trump.

“Until this month, Mr. Mattis had a buffer at the White House in the former national security adviser, Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, who often deferred to the defense secretary, a retired four-star Marine general. The arrival of Mr. Trump’s new national security adviser, John R. Bolton, means that buffer is gone,” wrote New York Times reporter Helene Cooper.

She added, “Administration and congressional officials said the hawkish Mr. Bolton is not expected to defer to the defense secretary; already, neoconservative members of the Republican foreign policy establishment have started to air concerns that Mr. Mattis is ceding strategic territory to Iran and Russia in Syria.”

[Related: Russia Accuses UK of Masterminding Chemical Weapons Attack in Syria]

In a Monday congressional hearing over the strikes, Sec. Mattis defended Trump’s strikes after-the-fact by claiming a rationale for them that foreign policy analyst Benjamin Haas at the New York University School of Law publication Just Security said “loosely resembled self-defense.”

“We have forces in the field, as you know, in Syria, and the use of chemical weapons in Syria is not something that we should assume that, well, because he didn’t use them on us this time, he wouldn’t use them on us next time…Protection of our forces—I don’t think we have to wait until they’re under chemical attack when the weapons are used in the same theater we’re operating in,” Mattis said to members of Congress.

Just Security’s Haas claimed that Mattis’ rationale for a Constitutional basis for the strikes was “profoundly flawed” because the U.S. has no evidence that Assad is planning an imminent chemical weapons attack on U.S. troops located in the theater.

Reports: North and South Korea Discussing Official End To 68-Year War

Seoul, South Korea – While the Korean war never officially ended after more than six decades, multiple reports indicate that the conflict may soon see an official conclusion. An article from USA Today reports that “South Korea would consider negotiating an end to the decades-old Korean War if North Korea commits to denuclearization,” according to a Seoul official.

As noted by Bloomberg, an official peace treaty has never been signed in place of a 1953 armistice to effectively halt the Korean War. “The peninsula remains bisected in a perpetual stalemate, with the U.S.-backed South Korean military lined up against more than a million North Korean troops,” the publication illustrated. “While tensions have occasionally flared, the two sides have so far staved off another devastating conflict.”

Munhwa Ilbo, a South Korean newspaper, cited an anonymous South Korean diplomatic official in its report that the two Koreas are working on a statement to announce an official end to the Korean war later this month when South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un meet for the first time.

[Related: Report: North Korea May Seek Peace Treaty to Formally End Korean War]

As CNBC reports:

Kim and Moon could also discuss returning the heavily-fortified demilitarized zone separating them to its original state, the newspaper said.

Pyongyang and Seoul have technically been at war since the 1950-1953 Korean conflict ended with a truce—and not a peace treaty. Geopolitical tensions have occasionally flared up since the armistice, although to date both countries have managed to avoid another devastating conflict.

A successful summit between the Koreas later this month could help pave the way for a meeting between Kim and President Donald Trump. The U.S. president and North Korean leader are poised to hold talks in late May or June, according to the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

While political pundits argue over whether it was President Trump’s “fire and fury” rhetoric, or “masterful” diplomacy on the part of South Korea, North Korea has signaled an increased willingness to consider denuclearization.

The Washington Post reported that current CIA Director and Secretary of State nominee Mike Pompeo “made a top-secret visit to North Korea as an envoy for President Trump to meet with Kim Jong Un, and plans for a possible summit between the two leaders are underway, Trump confirmed Wednesday.”

The report from The Washington Post explained:

The extraordinary meeting between one of Trump’s most trusted emissaries and the authoritarian head of a rogue state was part of an effort to lay the groundwork for direct talks between Trump and Kim about North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.

The clandestine mission came late last month, soon after Pompeo was nominated to be secretary of state. The Pompeo mission was first reported Tuesday by The Washington Post, citing two people with direct knowledge of the trip.

On Wednesday, Trump acknowledged the outreach and said “a good relationship was formed” that could lead to a landmark meeting between the president and Kim.

“Mike Pompeo met with Kim Jong Un in North Korea last week,” Trump tweeted. “Meeting went very smoothly and a good relationship was formed. Details of Summit are being worked out now. Denuclearization will be a great thing for World, but also for North Korea!”

Korea experts remain cautiously optimistic about the prospect of denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, but if the recent reports of an official end to the six-decade war are correct, it would prove to be a critical step toward establishing sustained peace in the region.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qGLGF5rhJmw

Reality Check: Lies Justify U.S. Air Strikes on Syria?

The U.S. seems to be stuck on repeat.

Our government and our media have been peddling lies to justify war, from WMDs in Iraq to humanitarian intervention in Libya.

The latest? A U.S.-led missile strike on Syria for the alleged use chemical weapons on civilians. This, just a week after President Trump said we were ready to get our troops out of that country.

Time and time again, history has proven that our government has made the wrong choice in its efforts to overthrow authoritarian governments in the Middle East, from Iraq to Libya, and now Syria.

But this time, the U.S. is meddling in a country where multiple countries are playing out a proxy war, including Israel, Saudi Arabia and Iran. Not to mention the heightened tensions from our president calling out Russia for its support of the Assad regime.

The big picture question: will we see this war escalate into a global conflict?

This is a Reality Check you won’t get anywhere else.

So much has happened in Syria in the past two weeks: an alleged gas attack by the Assad regime, missile strikes blamed on Israel hit Syria and killed some 14 people, including Iranians, then President Trump announcing late Friday that the U.S. had launched its own missile attack on Syria in coordination with allies France and the United Kingdom.

Strong words from the president for not only Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad, but also for his allies Iran and Russia.

As we reported last week, it was just a year ago that Trump authorized the first missile strike on Syria. So what did this new bombing involve?

Here’s what we know: the missile strikes hit just before dawn in Syria. They were carried out by manned U.S. military aircraft, and targeted an airfield, an alleged chemical weapons storage and manufacture facility, and command and control of the Syrian air defenses.

And while this barrage of air strikes is over, the pentagon did not rule out further strikes later.

U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis had previously stated that there was no evidence that Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad used sarin gas on his own people. Now Mattis seems to be telling a different story.

To be clear, our government is claiming that there is evidence of a chlorine gas attack, and is framing this bombing as a retaliatory measure to stop Assad from gassing his own people, a humanitarian action.

Yet, as the financial times reported last Wednesday, it will take weeks to confirm if deadly gas was used, and by whom.

Again, Mattis said there is no evidence Assad used sarin gas on his own people. And why would Assad? What motive does the Syrian government have to gas attack civilians if it would only risk western retaliation?

Remember, the U.S., U.K. and France have been arming Syrian rebels bombing ISIS and putting boots on the ground in Syria for years. 2017 marked the first direct targeting of Assad’s government, and now this missile strike. Both labeled as humanitarian efforts.

But remember, the U.S. government has a history of taking humanitarian action without evidence.

Remember when Colin Powell and others in the Bush Administration said there was no doubt that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction in Iraq? He didn’t.

The lies continued, with claims that after our invasion of Iraq the extremists would be curtailed. Yet with some 4,500 American lives lost and $2.4 trillion spent, Iraq is still a mess.

And what about Libya? In an episode of Reality Check from early March, we covered the open market slave trade happening there as a result of U.S. intervention. Even former President Obama said the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi was his greatest single mistake in office.

Our elected leaders never seem to learn from these mistakes. And the mainstream media is severely failing in holding them accountable.

Case in point, these latest strikes were authorized by the president, not congress. Congressional leaders were notified by the vice president shortly before the airstrikes were carried out. And many members of congress were angry at the president for not getting congressional approval before taking action against Assad.

Back in 2013, Trump criticized then-President Obama on Twitter for even considering striking Syria without congressional approval, saying:

“The president must get congressional approval before attacking Syria-big mistake if he does not!”

What you need to know is that history tends to repeat itself, if we let it. Our government could very well be trying to do the same thing in Syria as it has done in Libya and Iraq.

And the trail goes back further. There’s a Wikileaks cable from 2006 detailing how to overthrow Assad, including radicalizing Islamists in the region.

Yet President Trump says this bombing was a targeted attack to stop the use of chemical weapons, that’s it. U.K. prime minister Theresa May took it further, stating that “this is not about regime change.”

It’s hard to believe when history tells a different story.

That’s Reality Check. Let’s talk about that on social media.

 

NOTE: The flag used in the graphics for this episode should have been the Syrian Arab Republic flag with two green stars, not the Syrian Interim Government flag with three red stars.

Russian TV Advises Viewers to Stockpile Food/Water in Preparation for US Conflict

Moscow, Russia — Russian state TV recently ran a segment advising citizens to stockpile food and water as the discussion of a “catastrophic” conflict between superpowers intensified over Syria. Standing in front of an image of a nuclear explosion, an anchor for Russia’s Vesti 24 explained to viewers how to stock their bunkers with basic supplies in the event of war between the Cold War foes.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IHo2PNXazdE

For “those who succumb to panic and decide to spend all their savings,” the newscaster  recommended, they buy salt, oatmeal and other products that have a long shelf-life, according to Newsweek. He went on to explain that powdered milk lasts five years, while sugar and rice can last up to eight years, before showing videos of pasta cooking in a bomb shelter. Additionally, the presenter said that at least 30 liters of water would be necessary for personal hygiene, food preparation and drinking water.

“It should be noted that real panic isn’t here but across the ocean,” the Vesti 24 newcaster added,  pointing out that sales of bomb shelters in the United States “took off” after Trump’s election.

[Related: Veterans Group Warns US Attack on Syria Could Lead to Nuclear War]

The segment aired just before the US, UK, and France unleashed military strikes in response to allegations of chemical weapons attack by the Syrian government in the Syrian town of Douma over the weekend. Russia and the Syrian government have denied a chemical weapons attack took place, instead claiming the attack had been staged by the White Helmets, a self-purported Syria civil defense group hailed as heroes in the western world, but who supporters of the Syrian government claim act as civil defense for Islamist rebel groups operating under the auspices of being “moderate rebels.”

Russia’s Chief of the General Staff of Armed Forces, Valery Gerasimov, warned nearly a month ago that Syrian rebels were preparing to utilize chemical weapons— to be blamed on the Syrian government— as a justification for U.S. strikes on Damascus, and cautioned that “in the event of a threat to our military servicemen’s lives, Russia’s Armed Forces will take retaliatory measures to target both the missiles and their delivery vehicles.”

During an interview on Tuesday, Alexander Zasypkin, Russia’s ambassador to Lebanon, reiterated Gerismov’s warning stating, “If there is a strike by the Americans, then the missiles will be downed and even the sources from which the missiles were fired.”

“The U.S. needs to keep in mind not only the adversarial position of Russia, which of course is the case, but the Russian nuclear potential…An escalation in Syria that affects Russia may lead to a military conflict with Russia, which has an escalation trajectory towards a nuclear war,” Ariel Cohen, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, told Newsweek.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=hcOxFAp-nx4

Oregon Gov. Says She Will Refuse Trump’s Call To Deploy State Guardsmen To Border

(DCNF) Democratic Oregon Gov. Kate Brown announced Wednesday that she will refuse President Donald Trump’s call to send National Guard forces to protect the southern border.

Brown announced on Twitter that she will not listen to Trump or the federal government if asked to send Oregon guard troops to the Mexico border, saying she is “deeply troubled by Trump’s plan to militarize our border.”

The Democratic governor added that she has not been contacted by Trump or any federal officials to send forces to the border, but that if she were, she would refuse. She says Trump’s actions would distract her troops from the president’s “troubles in Washington.”

Brown’s statement comes after Trump announced Tuesday that the US military will be used to guard the US-Mexico border.

“We are going to be guarding our border with our military. That’s a big step,” Trump told reporters at the White House. “We cannot have people flowing into our country illegally, disappearing, and by the way never showing up for court.”

Written by Henry Rodgers: Follow Henry Rodgers On Twitter

 

 

This article was republished with permission from the Daily Caller News Foundation.